How to watch the Dota 2 Asia Championship

It's a major stop on the road to the Kiev Major.

Once again, the Dota 2 Asia Championship is back to turn Shanghai into a virtual battlefield.

With only one month left until the Kiev Major, the first $3 million event organized by Dota 2 developer Valve in 2017, the winner of the Dota 2 Asia Championship will undoubtedly be considered a favorite heading into the first Valve Major of the year. Making the stakes at the Chinese event all the higher.

What is it?

Featuring 12 of the most prominent Dota 2 teams in the world, and a prizepool of $579,000, The Dota 2 Asia Championship is the biggest Dota 2 event in China. The teams are fighting for the prizepool, as well as jockeying for position as the Kiev Major approaches.

What’s the format?

In the group stage, the twelve participating teams have been divided into two separate groups. Each group will feature a round robin group stage where each series is played as a best of two. The two teams placing at the top of the standings will receive a spot in the main event’s upper bracket, while the remaining four teams in each group will be sent to the lower bracket.

What’s the schedule?

Taking place between March 27 to April 4, the Dota 2 Asia Championship will feature both an extensive group stage, and finally the playoffs will feature a double elimination bracket.

After the group stage starting on March 27, the main event will begin on April 1 and is set to conclude on April 4. The playoffs will be consisting primarily of best of three series, with the only exceptions being the first round of the lower bracket, which will consist of best of one-series, and finally the grand finals which will be a best of five.

How can I watch?

All games of the Dota 2 Asia Championship will be taking place on two streams: PGL Dota, and PGL Dota 2. Each broadcast day of the group stage is, currently, set to take place between 09:00 to 21:30 CST.

What teams are taking part?

Out of the teams participating in the event, four received direct invitations, while the remaining eight fought through a series of regional qualifiers.

Group A:

  • Wings Gaming
  • OG
  • Team VG. J
  • LGD. Forever Young
  • Team Faceless
  • Team Empire

Group B:

  • Evil Geniuses
  • Newbee
  • Invictus Gaming
  • IG Vitality
  • Team Liquid
  • Team NP

The reigning Valve Major champions OG return to the LAN stage with something to prove. Following their triumph at the Boston Major on Dec. 10, championships have eluded the predominantly European squad at both Dota Pit League Season 5 and the StarSeries Season 3 grand finals. While this may have brought down the team’s overwhelming status as favorites heading into the Dota 2 Asia Championships, OG has consistently risen to the occasion at the biggest events in the world. A fact that is backed up by the squad’s three separate Valve Major victories.

Titleholders of the previous season of the Dota 2 Asia Championship, Evil Geniuses, has gone on to become one of the most enigmatic teams on the Dota 2 circuit. Featuring what is still regarded to be one of the most individually talented rosters on the planet, the team has become increasingly selective of which events to participate in. The Dota 2 Asia Championship will be the first for the North American squad in roughly two and a half months, as the team chose to forego the recent StarSeries Season 3 LAN finals on Feb. 26.

The last two LAN events the team did attend, however, resulted in victory. On Dec. 18, Evil Geniuses defeated Chinese top team Newbee by a score of 2-0, and in the Dota Pit Season 5 LAN finals, the team narrowly pulled off a 3-2 victory against OG. These results in and of themselves puts Evil Geniuses among the top of the teams in attendance, but the long pause in-between their LAN appearances could indeed come to bite them.

The roster competing for Newbee is completely different from the one that won the International’s, the Dota 2 world championship, fourth iteration in 2014. And that’s ok, because the current Newbee roster has shaped itself into one of the most competitive rosters in China, and the world. The one thing that’s missing from the Chinese squad is, however, a title at a major international LAN event. Because while the team is currently positioned as one of the best teams from China, the latter half of 2016 was filled with its fair share of disappointments for the roster.

Newbee’s two most recent LAN performances have ended with two consecutive second place finishes to western teams. It will be interesting to see if the squad can recuperate at the Dota 2 Asia Championships.

The European super squad Team Liquid is currently looking like the strongest team in the world. With a victory at the most recent major Dota 2 LAN, the StarSeries Season 3 LAN finals, as well as looking dominant in the European qualifiers for the Dota 2 Asia Championship, Team Liquid absolutely look poised at repeating its performance in Ukraine this upcoming week.

The sister team of Vici Gaming VG.J has gone on to create quite the reputation for itself internationally, something that isn’t all too strange considering the many stars that inhabit the roster. Most notably, the famed support duo of Vici Gaming’s 2015 roster consisting of Xu “fy” Linsen and Lu “Fenrir” Chao has been reunited under the VG.J brand. The team also features former CDEC carry Sun “Agressif” Zheng, and is captained by Chinese Dota 2 legend Bai “rOtk” Fan.

This star studded roster has also been looking increasingly relevant on the international stage as of late, which definitely places them among one of the stronger teams attending the Dota 2 Asia Championship.